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What’s It Like to “Give a Child up” for Open Adoption? [4 Simple Steps]

The world is much different than it was a century or even a few decades ago. Just as the world has evolved, so has adoption.

Long gone are the days when a birth mother placed her baby for adoption with complete strangers. She would never see or hear from her child or the adoptive parents ever again. Today, when you choose adoption, you’ll get to know the adoptive family and maintain a lifelong bond with your child through open adoption. The vast majority of today’s adoptions are open, as research has shown that it’s beneficial to all parties involved, especially the adoptee.

You may be asking yourself, “What’s it like to give a child up for open adoption?” Well, you’ve come to the right place. First of all, we want to make something clear: you are not “giving up” when you choose adoption. “Giving a child up” is one of the most common phrases people use when discussing adoption, and their hearts are likely in the right place. But, this phrase completely misses the point.

The phrase stems from the bygone days when closed adoptions reigned supreme. A birth mother would “give their baby up” and never know if they were living happy, loving lives. With open adoption, though, you don’t have to do that. Adoption is a selfless, brave and loving decision that places your child’s needs before your own. It’s why many birth mothers feel proud of the sacrifice they make after choosing adoption.

So, how does an open adoption agreement work, exactly? Below are four steps that detail what your adoption journey will look like.

Step 1: Develop an Open Adoption Plan

One of the first important steps you’ll take is forming your adoption plan. Typically, you’ll have an adoption professional to guide you through the adoption process. You could be thinking, “I want to give my child up for adoption, but I want to know who will adopt him.” Fortunately, you get to choose your child’s adoptive parents after browsing a list of waiting hopeful adoptive families through your adoption professional.

When you’re looking at adoptive parent profiles, you’ll likely get a great feeling when you’ve found ones you like. This is a good sign because it means this could be the right adoptive family for your child.

Brittnee, a birth mother, said that she “just knew” the right family when her adoption agency showed them to her. “They sent me several wonderful profiles of hopeful parents, and I just knew right off when I found the right one,” she said. “They were the perfect family, the type of family I had pictured for myself as I looked forward to my own future.”

Here are some questions to ask yourself when you’re looking for adoptive parents:

  • Do you imagine your child growing up in an urban, suburban or rural environment?
  • Do you envision your child having family pets or siblings?
  • What are the family’s values? What religious holidays do you want your child to celebrate?

Be sure to use an adoption professional to find the adoptive family, too. Looking for families on websites like Craigslist is incredibly dangerous and could be considered child trafficking. When you work with a reputable adoption professional, you’ll know that you and your child are in safe hands.

Step 2: Communicate with the Adoptive Family [in Whatever Forms You Feel Comfortable with]

When your adoption professional matches you with an adoptive family, you will all set up an open adoption agreement. This means that your adoption professional will arrange a call or meeting between both parties to decide how open you’d like the adoption to be.

One of the benefits of open adoption is that there are varying levels of openness, which lies on a scale. There is even semi-open adoption for those who want to have a relationship with their child and the adoptive parents, but for an adoption professional to mediate all contact.

Through an open adoption agreement, you can stay in touch with the adoptive family in various ways, including:

  • Phone calls
  • Texts
  • Photographs
  • Emails
  • Handwritten Letters
  • In-person visits
  • And more

When you choose an open adoption, you are in full control of your adoption journey from start to finish. This includes deciding what form of contact (if any) best suits your personal preferences and needs.

Step 3: Create Your Open Adoption Birth Plan

When you’re working with your adoption professional, they will also help you create your open adoption birth plan. This is what tells the adoptive parents and the hospital staff how you’d like your stay at the hospital to go during your labor and delivery.

If you’re pursuing an open adoption, then it’s likely that you’ll want the adoptive parents to be involved in some form during your hospital stay. When you’re creating your open adoption birth plan with your adoption professional, you will also decide things such as:

  • Who will be there in the hospital room when you give birth
  • Who gets to hold the baby first
  • What hospital you want to deliver the baby at

Making a hospital plan ahead of time will allow you to focus on your pregnancy and baby. This way, you won’t need to worry about making such important decisions during your labor. The purpose of an open adoption birth plan is to provide you with as much comfort as possible, and choosing that ahead of time will relieve stress later on.

Step 4: Adjust to Post-Placement Life

After your baby is born and you complete the paperwork to place them with their adoptive family, you are officially a birth mother. Congratulations! There will be a finalization court hearing a few months later where a local judge issues the final decree of adoption to the adoptive parents, but it’s not required for you to be there. But, if you’d like to go show your support, then you are more than welcome.

Over the following months, you and the adoptive parents will likely communicate more. The forms of communication will depend on your open adoption agreement, so feel free to choose whatever methods you feel most comfortable with. With open adoption, you will all share a lifelong bond, and it’s what makes adoption such a beautiful journey.


We understand that open adoption is not the right path for everyone, but it  generally offers the most benefits for everyone involved. Before pursuing an open adoption, be sure to speak with an experienced, trusted adoption professional about whether it’s the best choice for you.

“As the months went by, the adoptive family and I stayed in touch,” Sara, a birth mother, said. “We continued to text and talk, even video chats. They text pictures of Teddy every day. It was amazing. I had feared that once we parted, the communication might stop – but it was quite the opposite. I had gained a new family!”

If you have any questions about open adoption, then please don’t hesitate to contact us today.